Scholar Profile - Kate Tully PDF Print E-mail
Kate Tully


CEO at YWCA Queensland

Awarded a scholarship for the Meikle Files Black Leadership Program, 2013

What sort of work does your organisation do?

1. Women’s leadership development

2. Community services: community housing, domestic violence shelter, disability services, employment & training (work for the dole)

Describe a typical day's work.

  • Meetings with potential partners/supporters,
  • Planning, Meetings with managers to discuss progress/issues,
  • Governance work,
  • Liaison with Board & Committees,
  • Sometimes staff grievances.

What were some of the key learnings from the Meikle Files Black Leadership Program?

  • Be brave. Have the difficult conversations. Hold people to account.
  • Every new person on the team must raise the average
  • “If you choose popularity, choose not leadership."
  • Be more active in acknowledging and rewarding the high performers, and weeding out the low performers.

How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?

I have conducted sessions with my senior staff about some of the learnings. It has been very telling – those who “lapped it up” and those who were clearly uneasy with the idea of identifying and measuring high performance in the not-for-profit context.

On a personal level, I feel the course has contributed to a very definite improvement in my ability and willingness to hold under-performers to account, as well as to identify and then pursue what high performance looks like in my own role.

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

It was a conscious decision about 5-6 years ago. I had long worked in this field in a voluntary capacity and decided it was how I wanted to make my living. I love the opportunity to facilitate the flow of resources from where there is abundance to where there is need.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

Capability-building, of exactly the kind that is facilitated by ASF. We have long recognised the need to strive towards excellence, and operational efficiency and effectiveness, in the corporate and government sectors. Now we need to recognise that the same is required in the NFP sector, that it serves nobody’s interests for this sector to remain ‘the poor cousin’, under-resourced and overworked.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?

I spent a glorious four months travelling through Europe with my four children; travelling on a shoestring, we came back impoverished in cash but so greatly enriched in 1000 other ways.

Click here to read about other ASF scholars.

"I love the opportunity to facilitate the flow of resources from where there is abundance to where there is need."


Kate has been involved with the YWCA for almost a decade, having served as management committee member and President of the former YWCA Downs and SW Qld. She has business experience in the private and non-profit sectors and a lifelong interest in social justice issues, particularly relating to women and children.

In 2013, Kate was one of twelve scholarship winners for the prestigious Meikle Files Black Leadership Program, a one-of-a-kind, intensive course specifically designed for high-performing not-for-profit leaders.


Annual revenue / size:

Medium - $250,000 - $5m pa

Segment of NFP sector:

Social Services

Operating in: